As the long winter begrudgingly started fading, there was a beer to get us through it: Batch 25 of Torn Label’s Hang ’Em High IPA.
The late-winter version of the always-evolving IPA from the adventurous Crossroads brewery delivered some semblance of future warmth with guava-grapefruit notes from Citra hops. Amarillo hops kept the pine boughs near, in case we weren’t quite ready to leave shelter. The beer was golden and a bit hazy, like liquid sunlight filtered through cumulus clouds.
It was also fleeting, as always.
The Hang ’Em High series is a rotating recipe of hop-forward beer made with a different array of hops in every batch, Torn Label CEO Rafi Chaudry says. The brewery keeps the same malt bill and pitches the same yeast while changing the combination of hops as a “way of exploring the furthest reaches of hop character.”
Hang ’Em High has been around since the brewery’s 2015 opening, debuting with Falconer’s Flight and Simcoe hops inspired by clarified and bitter West Coast IPAs. There have now been 26 batches, using well-loved Yakima hops like El Dorado and little-known varieties like Grungeist and Styrian Dragon. Batch 27 uses a hop so new it “doesn’t even have a name yet,” Chaudry says.
Over time, the beer’s flavor profile has shifted eastward, becoming more of a Northeast IPA: “cloudier, aromatic, late-addition hops,” Chaudry says.
Batch 25 was in some ways less adventurous than most, using two prized varieties that are common in the best IPAs. That didn’t stop us from loving it, though — or from planning to order whatever comes next.